Paul Robinson has advised Newcastle United to adopt Leeds’ loan-to-buy approach to meet Arsenal in the middle for Joe Willock.
Willock spent the second half of the 2020/21 campaign on-loan with the Magpies. He more than exceeded expectations in the north east, going on to finish the season with eight goals in 14 appearances thanks to seven consecutive strikes in his last seven games. In turn, the 21-year-old became the youngest player to achieve the feat in Premier League history.
Naturally, Steve Bruce would relish the opportunity to bring Willock back to St James’ Park next season. However, the large price-tag on his head could be out of reach for Bruce.
The belief is the 60-year-old is working on a relatively tight budget once more this summer as the ongoing legal action surrounding the Saudi Arabia takeover rumbles on.
That leaves a roadblock in Newcastle’s attempts to re-sign the midfielder – one which Robinson believes could be overcome by copying one of their Premier League rivals.
He feels they should negotiate a loan-to-buy deal, an approach that Leeds have used with Manchester City’s Jack Harrison.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “The ideal deal for Newcastle would be a second loan deal. I’m not sure if they have the money to sign him on a permanent basis right now.
“He was absolutely brilliant for them last season. He went up there, played week in, week out and looked like a different player.
“A big part of the success Newcastle enjoyed towards the end of the season was down to him so it would be huge if Newcastle can sign him.
“If they could negotiate another loan deal with an option to buy at the end of next season, a little bit like how Leeds structured Jack Harrison’s deal. That would be perfect.
“It would be great if they can get it done because he looked like he was enjoying his football at Newcastle.”
Options on Willock deal
An alternative option that has also been suggested as a solution is a player-plus-cash deal involving goalkeeper Freddie Woodman.
Woodman, 24, has been on Newcastle’s books since 2013. He’s spent the last two seasons on loan at Swansea City, where he has impressed in net.
Last season he kept 20 clean sheets in the Championship. That was enough to earn him the league’s Golden Glove award.
And now he could be used in a deal for Willock because of one major factor – he would boost the Gunners’ homegrown quota.